Be good to your dj.
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After almost 30 years of being a professional disc jockey, I have a few simple tips for guests regarding the dj at the next event you go to.
1. Please understand we want to make you happy.
Just like anything in life there are good djs and there are bad djs. There are nice djs and there are rude djs. There are arrogant djs and there are accommodating djs. Don’t take out a poor experience with a previous dj with the one entertaining at your next event. A great dj wants to make everyone in the room happy.
2. We may not be able to play your request.
Please see tip #1. We want to make you happy. There are certain clients that really have us on request lockdown. They have instructed us not to take requests. Please respect their wishes on their wedding day. Please also understand that there are some amazing songs that simply aren’t going to keep a dance floor full. I love Billy Joel. 99% of the songs he has recorded will empty a dance floor. If I was a guest at a wedding, I would never ask the dj to play any Billy Joel songs since I know it will clear the dance floor. I may ask the dj to sneak some in during cocktails or dinner provided the couple getting married didn’t give the dj any specific instructions regarding music during these times. No one wants to be “that person” at the wedding that clears the dance floor with their odd request. We also may have songs that were requested before your song as well as the wedding couple’s requests. We will indeed get to your song and we need to do so when it also fits in with the music that the guests are dancing to. Please understand and be patient.
3. We simply can’t download the song that you want just because you want us to.
Again our goal is make you as a guest happy. Our bigger goal is to make the entire guest list happy. Our necessary goal is to make the client/couple who hired us happy. While djing, entertaining, emceeing, etc. we may not be able to multi task and download the song you want. We are also using the computer that you see to dj with and the last thing that we need to happen is to have something lock up because we are running multiple things at the same time.
4. Handing us your phone or iPod is not always an option.
In the event that the dj does not have the song that you request, handing them your phone is not always an option. I will ask you to please refer to tip #1. The dj may not carry the cords that are needed to plug in your phone or iPod. While djs understand your desire to have a certain song played and your ability to help solve that problem, it may not be an option that is best for the event.
5. We are out of time.
Time is a precious commodity that we never seem to have enough of. I know that if a great dj does their job, the dance floor will be packed at the end of the night and every guest will be on it for the last song of the night. Please understand that a great dj has built up this moment for the wedding couple as the grand finale. A great dj has also planned for a few extra songs after the guests are chanting “One more song.” Please understand however that we don’t own the venue the reception or party is being held in. We have to respect the designated end time that the event is contracted until. We still need to tear down our gear and get out the venue as quickly as possible so the venue staff can clean up, perhaps prep the room for the next day, and still go home to their families. Please respect when we have to stop the music.
6. The fact that you are leaving in 10 minutes isn’t relevant.
If you really want to make sure that a song is played the evening of a wedding or special event, let the dj know early in the night so that they can figure out the best place to play it so that the floor stays packed. The fact that you are leaving isn’t relevant because as a dj we also have a responsibility to all of the other guests that evening that are staying past longer than the next 10 minutes.
7. Please tell the dj why the song is relevant.
If your request is unusual please let the dj know that you understand that it is an unusual request. If you give the dj the back story that everyone at tables 10-15 went to the same college and the song was played as the last song of the evening at their favorite college bar, the dj can recreate that moment as the last song of the evening. If tables 10-15 were all in the same fraternity or sorority together and they had a favorite song during their time together, let the dj know. The dj can now ask for the members of that group to come out to the dance floor for something special and the unusual request becomes a moment instead of an oddly played song.
8. You don’t need to give a dollar to play your song.
Part of being a private event dj is accommodating requests from the guests. It is entirely different than being a dj at a bar. If you want the dj at the bar to say Happy Birthday to your friend Susie, I would highly recommend writing her name on a $10 or $20 and hand it to the dj. At a wedding, the dj should be approachable and be willing to have a quick conversation about your request and be able to get it on as long as it fits with the client’s wishes. There is no need to offer them a $1 bill to play something. You don’t need to give the dj singles as though they are a human juke box.
9. There is no need to let the dj know you are important.
Once again I will refer you to tip #1. There is no need to tell the dj that you are the bride’s god mother, aunt, uncle, best friend, organ donor, etc. It has very little to do with what we can and will do for you at the reception. We are happy to play your request provided that it fits with the client’s wishes and when we can fit in based on the style of music the guests are dancing to. Many years ago, I did a large party for a fortune 100 company. The dance floor was packed from the minute we started. Every woman in the room came up to me and told me that they were the president’s personal assistant and that I should play their request next. At one point in the night the president came over to me for one reason or another. I told him about all of the requests from his assistants and I asked him how many personal assistants he had, he laughed and said he didn’t have any.